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By Word of Mouth is the same as it ever was.

Such ingredients, as well as our entrées, could have come straight from the pages of the New Basics Silver Palate cookbook, the culinary bible of the '80s, where the meat section begins with "A Perfectly Broiled Fillet." Beef tenderloin ($34) with scalloped potatoes and a pan reduction was lovely. It has been so long since I've tasted anything but organic, grass-fed, dry-aged rib eye — filet mignon went out of fashion around the time we all sent our Z. Cavariccis to Goodwill. But hell, a rare three-inch-high fillet is a thing of beauty: It really does melt in your mouth, and to say it pairs perfectly with a creamy, oven-baked potato gratin hardly does it justice. Spinach and scallop lasagna ($26) didn't hold its shape particularly well, but its delicate nature made it all that much more delicious: tender sheets of pasta layered over and under a rich, bisque-like béchamel that had taken on the flavor of the succulent shellfish. Osso buco ($32), its brown sauce now nicely thickened, was an interesting turn on the classic Italian dish. Instead of heavy tomato sauce, it had been simmered in a wine and beef sauce with mushrooms — something like a good beef bourguignon or pot roast, with the bonus of rich, jellylike marrow scooped from the shank.

Of course, leggings worn with oversized sweaters are chic again, and as long as we're recycling trends, let's restore the layer cake to its rightful place on restaurant menus. By Word of Mouth has been and continues to be the last and final word on cake (all $8): angel food sponges layered with whipped cream and strawberries, dense buttery yellow cake oozing with baked apples, chocolate orgasm cake, lemon cake, ganache cake. And there's one that delighted and surprised me: Lady Baltimore cake. I'd heard of Lady Baltimore, a virginal confection of ethereal white cake layered with figs, raisins, and pecans and slathered with a fluffy egg-white frosting, but I'd never actually seen or tasted one. And now I'm very glad I have.

As you'll have noticed, prices here are one aspect that has briskly kept pace with the times. Expect to spend about $50 per person including wine. Make a reservation, and bring extra reserves of nostalgia. Some things should never be allowed to go out of fashion: Capezio jazz shoes, INXS, layer cakes lovingly made from dog-eared copies of the Fannie Farmer Baking Book, and little restaurants that don't need to change a thing.

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